35 user 32 critic

Cry of the Banshee (1970)

R | | Horror | 22 July 1970 (USA)
In Elizabethan England, a wicked lord massacres nearly all the members of a coven of witches, earning the enmity of their leader, Oona. Oona calls up a magical servant, a "banshee", to ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | History | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The twisted Richard III is haunted by the ghosts of those he has murdered in his attempt to become the King of England.

Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Vincent Price, Michael Pate, Joan Freeman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Aristocrat Julian Markham keeps his disfigured brother, Sir Edward, locked in a tower of his house. Sir Edward occasionally escapes and causes havoc around the town.

Director: Gordon Hessler
Stars: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Rupert Davies
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Vincent Price recites four Edgar Allen Poe stories: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Sphinx, The Cask of Amontillado, and The Pit and the Pendulum.

Director: Kenneth Johnson
Stars: Vincent Price
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A serial killer who drains his victims' blood is on the loose in London; the police follow him to a house owned by an eccentric scientist.

Director: Gordon Hessler
Stars: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An evil spirit leaves the body of his human host, a criminal on death-row, and sneaks into the body of his next human host, a French magistrate.

Director: Reginald Le Borg
Stars: Vincent Price, Nancy Kovack, Chris Warfield
Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An American writer goes to a remote Welsh manor on a $20,000 bet: can he write a classic novel like "Wuthering Heights" in twenty-four hours? Upon his arrival, however, the writer discovers... See full summary »

Director: Pete Walker
Stars: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing
Sci-Fi | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

In 1868, an American scientist and his team become hostages of fanatical pacifist Robur who uses his airship Albatross to destroy military targets on Earth.

Director: William Witney
Stars: Vincent Price, Charles Bronson, Henry Hull
Horror | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

3 horror stories based on the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne. In the 1st story titled "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", Heidegger attempts to restore the youth of three elderly friends. In "... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Salkow
Stars: Vincent Price, Sebastian Cabot, Brett Halsey
Madhouse (1974)
Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A horror movie star returns to his famous role after years in a mental institution. But the character seems to be committing murders independent of his will.

Director: Jim Clark
Stars: Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Robert Quarry
Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Three tales of terror involve a grieving widower and the daughter he abandoned; a drunkard and his wife's black cat; and a hypnotist who prolongs the moment of a man's death.

Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Vincent Price, Maggie Pierce, Leona Gage
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A man's obsession with his dead wife drives a wedge between him and his new bride.

Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Vincent Price, Elizabeth Shepherd, John Westbrook
Biography | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young soldier seeks to put an end to the evils caused by a vicious witch hunter.

Director: Michael Reeves
Stars: Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Rupert Davies


Cast overview, first billed only:
Essy Persson ...
Lady Patricia Whitman
Hilary Heath ...
Maureen Whitman (as Hilary Dwyer)
Carl Rigg ...
Harry Whitman
Sean Whitman
Marshall Jones ...
Father Tom
Andrew McCulloch ...
Bully Boy
Pamela Moiseiwitsch ...
Joyce Mandre ...
Party Guest
Party Guest
Guy Deghy ...
Party Guest
Oona (as Elizabeth Bergner)
Patrick Mower ...
Victoria Fairbrother ...
Margaret Donald (witch) (as Pamela Farbrother)


In Elizabethan England, a wicked lord massacres nearly all the members of a coven of witches, earning the enmity of their leader, Oona. Oona calls up a magical servant, a "banshee", to destroy the lord's family. (The "banshee" of this tale bears no resemblance to the normal usage of the term!) Written by Marg Baskin <marg@asd.raytheon.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Edgar Allan Poe probes new depths of TERROR!



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and nudity | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 July 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Banshî no sakebi  »

Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (edited)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Gordon Hessler in his interview on the DVD version of this movie, the whole film was shot "at the mansion of Gilbert and Sullivan" - that is, of Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert. As they did not live together, he is probably referring to the country residence of W.S. Gilbert. See more »


This film is set in the 16th century. But in the first scene, when the girl is branded, she opens her mouth to scream and shows a full set of teeth with amalgam fillings. See more »


Lord Edward Whitman: [to the crowd partying at his castle, when they have been frightened by a wolf's howl] That mad dog that you all thought the product of sorcery is DEAD.
[glowering, he adds after a moment:]
Lord Edward Whitman: Now drink, dance, and be merry.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are divided into "The Establishment, "Witches", and "Villagers". See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Midgrade Vincent Price Film
22 February 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The film is set in Elizabethan England and revolves around a wicked magistrate who tries to kill all the members of a coven of witches. This makes the leader of the coven, Oona, sworn enemies of the lord and his family. To get revenge Oona calls up a magical servant, a "sidhe", to destroy the lord's family. The titular "cry of the banshee" is the signal that someone will die.

The script went through a few revisions. Tim Kelly's script had witches who were all old women and set the story in the 1700s. Christopher Wicking moved the time to the 1500s (more accurate) and made the witches varying ages and genders. Wicking also changed the wife to a stepmother rather than a mother of the Whitmans, which gives her a bit of distance to see the actions of her cruel new family.

Steve Haberman suggests that Wicking's re-write of Kelly was in part inspired by the Manson murders. The witches initially were more peaceful, but under Wicking actually invoke Satan by name. This takes the nature-worshiping cult to a whole new level... from nature to the devil himself. Director Gordon Hessler said he (and Wicking) wanted to get one more draft of the script in, but AIP was rushing the production. One wonders what might have happened with just a bit more spit and polish.

The first thing you will notice when watching this film is that it looks like the opening is from a Monty Python movie. And there is a good reason you think that: it was, in fact, animated by Terry Gilliam, the American member of Monty Python and their animator. Unfortunately, this may be the highlight of the movie.

Vincent Price carries this film, as there are no other big name actors to speak of. Unless you count AIP regular (and Academy Award winner) Hugh Griffith, who plays the drunken grave robber Mickey. Mike Mayo says Price is "not at his best" but "still fine", and that is a fair assessment. But even at just "fine", Price is more enjoyable to watch than most others of his generation.

The remainder of the cast, as I said, is hardly notable. There is Stephen Rea, who was later nominated for an Oscar, appearing in his first film role (he did a couple of television appearances before that). And there is a man named Guy Pierce in a very small role, but it is not the guy you think it is. A shame, really. Hilary Dwyer had previously been in both "Witchfinder General" (1968) and "The Oblong Box" (1969) alongside Vincent Price, but is not known outside of the AIP fan niche.

For some reason, there is a happy song sung by a man with a lute about a maiden who is raped by a huntsman, and then gets her revenge on him by castrating him. I do not know how to feel about this being sung as an uplifting ballad. Haberman says that this was a song that truly dated to the correct period, so I have to give them credit for that. And it does coincide with a maiden getting attacked by thuggish men... but no castration.

Overall, the film is okay or good, but not the best. Vincent Price has better films where he plays a witch hunter (including "Conqueror Worm") and better films in general. Still worth seeing, but do not put it at the top of your list. And do not try to find the banshee in this film, because one does not exist. Sorry.

Scream Factory, as always, has released the definitive version of this film on their Vincent Price box set. They give us both the AIP and unrated versions. So if you want to see a little extra violence, see a few more topless women, and hear the original score before AIP regular Les Baxter was hired to replace it, you now have that ability. Unfortunately, the director's cut does not substantially improve the movie's slow, poorly-conceived plot, and even director Gordon Hessler admits this is not some of his best work. (Amazingly, this was the biggest box office hit of the Hessler-Wicking team, even more than "Scream and Scream Again". Could it have been the misuse of the Poe name?)

Scream also provides a Steve Haberman audio commentary, which is very informative. He not only gives biographical information on the various people involved, but took the time to read both Kelly's and Wicking's scripts, so he knows quite well what went into developing the plot. The disc also has an archive interview with director Hessler, which is well worth checking out.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: